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Diagnosis and Retrieval of Pharyngeal Foreign Body in Cattle.


A cattle with history of occurrence of sudden spontaneous coughing during feeding was diagnosed with traumatic pharyngitis due to potential metallic foreign body on basis of clinical and radiographic findings. Under deep Xylazine sedation, the foreign body was manually removed successfully through the oral cavity route.

Keywords: Cattle; foreign body; pharynx; radiography; xylazine.


Traumatic pharyngitis due to foreign bodies like nails and pieces of wires, which get lodged in pharynx occurs occasionally in bovines. This is due to indiscriminate feeding habit of these animals (Singh and Nigam, 1981). Clinical signs are often not sufficient to confirm diagnosis of the affection. The disease is to be differentially diagnosed from other important surgical affections of upper gastrointestinal tract of bovines (Singh et al., 1993). The present paper reports the earlier diagnosis and successful manual retrieval of pharyngeal foreign body through oral cavity route in a cattle.

History and Diagnosis

A non-pregnant, female Jersey cattle in its seventh lactation period was presented with history of occurrence of sudden coughing during concentrate feeding two days back. Since that moment, the animal was showing dysphagia though retaining its appetite. The animal was taking feed but after its partial mastication and slight swallowing, it was showing quidding with dropping out incompletely masticated feed. It was drinking water but in lesser amount at each time. There was noticed salivary drooling since the time of appearance of signs of dysphagia. Also, the animal was showing spontaneous intermittent coughing but there was no history of regurgitation of water and feed particles from nasal cavity. The owner also noticed a slight swelling on right, ventral side of proximal part of neck since the occurrence of other abnormal signs. On clinical examination, the animal was found slightly depressed with spontaneous intermittent coughing.

In few coughs, slight pus like particles were also noticed. The swelling in proximal part of right side of neck was found in pharyngeal region (Fig.1). On palpation, it was found slightly edematous and crepitating in nature but without any signs of pain. Nothing abnormal was observed in oral cavity on examining it after applying the mouth gag. Also, on passing the probang, it could be easily passed through the oesophagus upto the forestomach without any signs of distress in animal. Left to right lateral radiograph of pharyngeal region at exposure factors of 76 kVp and 10 mAs revealed presence of radiopaque linear foreign body in this region (Fig. 2). The radiographic finding confirmed the clinical case of traumatic pharyngitis.


The animal was deep sedated with intravenous administration of 1 ml Xylazine (Xylaxin (a), 20 mg/ml) @ 0.07 mg per kg b. wt. After sedation, when the jaw muscles were found completely relaxed, the mouth gag was applied and hand was inserted from oral cavity to pharyngeal region. After slight exploration in pharyngeal cavity, a linear metallic foreign body was located, entrapped with its pointed ends in right lateral wall of pharynx. With carefulness, the foreign body was dislodged from wall of pharynx and it was brought out manually after concealing its pointed ends between fingers. The foreign body was identified sewing needle with approximate length of 2 inches (Fig. 3). After successful removal of foreign body, a paste of Glycerine and Boric Acid powder was smeared manually in pharyngeal cavity. Later, the animal recovered uneventfully from deep sedation. After some time, when animal was offered feed and water it took them greedily without any signs of dysphagia. The animal was administered with antibiotic injection of Amoxycillin 2.25 gm plus Dicloxacillin 2.25 gm (Intamox-D (b), 4.5 gm) I.M., b.i.d for 5 days, NSAID injection of Meloxicam (Melonex (b), 5 mg/ml) 10 ml I.M., o.d. for 3 days and injection Chlorpheniramine maleate (Anistamin (b), 10 mg/ml) 10ml I.M., o.d. for 3 days. Follow-up examination revealed complete return of normal health of animal with subsiding of all pathological signs.


Semieka (2010) found radiography useful in diagnosis of various types of foreign bodies located at different regions in nine bovines. In a buffalo, a metallic foreign body was radiographically located in pharyngeal region behind angle of mandible. Similarly, in present reported case confirmatory diagnosis of pharyngeal foreign body was based on radiographic examination. Mann et al. (2013) reported clinical and radiographic diagnosis of two days old balling gun induced traumatic pharyngitis in cattle. Comparable findings like edematous swelling on neck surface at pharyngeal region and spontaneous coughing were also noted in present reported case. In balling gun induced trauma, manual attempt through oral cavity was made to remove radiographically located boluses from retropharyngeal region. But due to distance from fingers' approach, foreign body (boluses) were removed surgically under general anaesthesia. However in the present case, foreign body could be retrieved successfully through manual approach because it was in manual reach. Deep sedation achieved with lower dose of intravenous Xylazine administration made the application of gag and manual entry into oral and pharyngeal cavity easier. Due to use of lower, the animal also recovered uneventfully. Xylazine, an dose alpha-2 agonist, produces a dose-related degree of sedation and its intravenous injection results in deeper sedation than intramuscular administration (Clarke et al., 2014).


Clarke, K.W., Trim, C.M. and Hall L.W. (2014). Anaesthesia of Cattle. In: Veterinary Anaesthesia. 11th Edn., Saunders, Elsevier, China. p. 313-43.

Mann, S., Nuss, K., Feist, M., Weber, B., Zoller, D. and Metzner, M. (2013). Balling gun-induced trauma in cattle:clinical presentation, diagnosis and prevention. Vet. Rec. 172: 683-84.

Semieka, M.A. (2010). Radiography of Unusual foreign body in Ruminants. Vet. World. 3: 473-75.

Singh, Jit, Singh, A.P. and Patil, D.B. (1993). The Digestive System. In: Ruminant Surgery by Tyagi, R.P.S and Singh Jit. Ed: CBS Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi. p. 183-24.

Singh, A.P. and Nigam, J.M. (1981). Radiography of the foreign bodies in the bovine. Bovine Pract. 2: 7-13.

A.K. Bishnoi (1), M.C. Parashar and S.M. Qureshi

Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology College of Veterinary and Animal Science Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (RAJUVAS) Navania, Vallabhnagar Udaipur (Rajasthan)

(1.) Corresponding author. E-mail:

(a) - Brand of Indian Immunologicals Ltd.

(b) - Brand of Intas Animal Health, Ahmedabad
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Bishnoi, A.K.; Parashar, M.C.; Qureshi, S.M.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Clinical report
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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